I have selected the following list of books which I have read so that the reader might find the way of things in the desert. And while I have read many other books that have influenced me and were full of knowledge, many of them are not on this list, the reason for this being that they were not about the desert environment or had no practical application in the desert. However, this list of books will always be growing and directed to a wide audience; that is to say, some are for beginners, others for professionals.
But in the end, I feel that all of them will be beneficial for someone trying to learn the ways of the desert
How to Choose Binoculars
Author: Alan R. Hale
This book could be a very important book for somebody who wants to learn the ways the desert.
While it talks about technical issues concerning binoculars, this is a subject that is truly valuable to someone who wants learn the ways of the desert. A Good set of binoculars and the knowledge of how to use them truly affect one's presence and awareness in the field, and this all starts out with knowing how to choose a good set of binoculars. The technical component of this book is well-written and makes the subject matter easy to understand; and while the part of this book that deals with the different makers and their models is somewhat dated, it still has some value. The right set of optics and the knowledge of how to use them can make a tremendous difference. To start with, you will learn the ways of the desert from the true masters, that is to say, the wildlife. You will learn directly from the likes of the coyote and the desert bighorn sheep in a way that would be otherwise impossible.
Tracking: A Blueprint for Learning How
Author: Jack Kearney
This book seems to have as accurate a title as a book ever could. When I first read this book, I thought I was pretty good at tracking, but after reading this I began to use the book's lesson plan to learn a lot more. While this book is about tracking people, its lessons can be used to learn the full spectrum of tracking. Also, while the book shows prints such as those of a bobcat or a coyote and how to tell the difference between the two, this book dispenses with all that and concentrates on the art of tracking, and as the title implies, the means of learning how. In this book the reader will find that every trip into the wilderness can be made into a lesson on tracking and reading sign; and once somebody has learned to do some tracking, it opens up a whole new world to them. And so, I highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to learn and understand what is going on around them as they hike the desert.
Burro Bill and Me
Author: Edna Calkins Price
This book could be viewed in many different ways, as a history book, an adventure book, or a book about various places in the Southwest. And it is certainly all that! However, for me it is a book about two people leaving the modern world and going back to a nomadic way of life. It is this journey that we all try to take even if it is just for one week. And so with this book we can follow Burro Bill farther back into this nomadic way of life than most of us will ever experience - Including the step-by-step way in which they left the modern world. We have in this book a view of what it's like to do this from the point of view of a man and a woman, that is to say, the basic unit of human existence. And in particular, we have it from the female or gatherer point of view. Edna's accurate and interesting point of view on her husband's way of doing things makes for interesting reading and their optimistic and upbeat view of things makes this book very enjoyable, to which can be added her detailed observations on a wide variety of subjects such as animal and human behavior and the lay of the land.
Grand Canyon - A Century of Change
Author: Robert H. Webb
University of Arizona Press
This book is simply amazing. It represents a monumental effort taken on by many people. The fact that this book has not been on bestseller's lists is a testament to where our culture now stands. The author can truly be proud of this monumental achievement and the fact that he saw significance of this project.
There are many places that have a few pictures here and there of the environment as it was a century ago, but this project has many pictures that document many aspects of the Grand Canyon and its environment. And of course, the subject matter is the Grand Canyon, and perhaps nowhere on the planet does environment play out on such a grand scale with variations such as low desert and alpine forests that make this truly a wonderful place. Also, we should appreciate what it took to produce this book. To acquire the first photographs, it took a very expensive expedition and one in which the photographer had to risk his life almost every day. And we should also appreciate that this time photography was a new technology. Then there is the second series of photographs which took a very high level of organization and determination to replicate the first ones. And after all this the author was able to bring to the written text a level of value and insight equal to the task. This book is as close as one can get to standing in one place and watch a century go by and for this reason I highly recommend it to anybody wishing to learn the way of things.
American Indian Food and Lore
Author: Carolyn Niethammer
MacMillan Publishing Company
I found this to be a valuable and unique book. It is much more than just a list of edible plants; it delves into the true nature of what it takes to be a gatherer. When one takes into account all the books about hunting and fishing, one finds that they are numerous. However, when you look at gathering wild foods, such books are few and far between. And of course, the gathering of food by women has supplied humanity with most of its food down through the ages. And so, in taking all of this in to account, with this book one can find his way to partake of the land and give credence that old saying that you are what you eat. Another advantage of this book is that it takes into account the modern ways of cooking as well as some of the traditional ways.
Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting
Edited by: Catherine Rich and Travis Longcore
This book definitely comes with a message and it is one that I generally agree with; however, you'll find that such books generally don't make my list of recommended reading. But this book covers the subject that is rarely talked about and yet is very important. And while the subject of artificial lighting is a very important subject itself, the book is also concerns what happens at night, a subject rarely written about.
It does so in a very technical and intellectual manner - indeed sometimes it was difficult for me to fully comprehend. However, through my life I spent a lot of time in the desert at night and this gave me a basis for understanding, and I suppose it really brings to the table a scientific understanding of all sorts of things that happen at night. And while this book is not specific to the desert Southwest, it does give one an understanding of various ecosystems at night. So in this book we find a route to understanding the desert at night, and the night is that half of the desert that most of us will never see much.